Can Technology Help with Social Skills
With the statistics recorded showing that teenagers typically average anywhere from four hours or more per day on the internet, it really isn’t surprising that it is not uncommon for them to meet people on-line as opposed to in person. Years ago people had to rely on meeting others in a public place to get to know each other. Society has changed drastically due to the internet and social media, making it much more simple for people to meet and chat online. Although the people skills that are developed from face to face interaction are not developed through the use of the web, many feel that being able to interact with others virtually has had a positive impact on their lives.
Online dating is one of the main components of virtually meeting a person in society today. Sometimes on dating sites, people depict themselves as something they are not causing the person they matched with disappointment when they meet in person. Being stuck in a situation like this is fairly common and is known as something called “catfish.” Decades ago, a situation as such would not be an issue because dating would always begin by meeting one another directly. On the contrary, many people today feel that online dating has made it much easier to find a partner. Dating sites are filled with hundreds, even thousands of different people that are also looking to start a relationship. While having all of these options at hand may become stressful, most sites consist of personality tests to match a person with someone of similar interests. These sites also provide ways to communicate with the individuals people are matched with before meeting in person to get a feel for if they would be comfortable with that person or not. Dating sites have been exceedingly beneficial for those of single adults; it can be tough to find a significant other while handling all of the responsibilities a job and maybe even a child can take. Certainly, dating sites have allowed people like this to take a little time out of their busy schedules to find a match for them. These sites do not guarantee a “perfect match” however, matching may help evade one from a situation that may have been uncomfortable. With the communication components of these websites, people have the opportunity to talk to others which will allow them to see if there is an initial connection from the start.
Similar to dating sites and online relationships, friendships are now being made through social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. With sites like these, although they do not have the same goals as dating sites, they can be effective even without certain social skills. This is the reason why many people in society support the idea of meeting new people through social media and networking sites. In an article called “Social Media’s Impact on America” the website socialmediasimpactonamerica.weebly.com writes that: “According to social media supporters, connecting with your community via the internet makes you less lonely.” Social media can be harmful when misused, so it is only beneficial when used correctly and safely. It is common today for children/teens to share their social media accounts with someone they just met so they can “follow” or “be-friend” one other to keep in touch. Not only is it common to virtually keep in touch with new friends, but social media is one of the primary ways “that teen interact with their existing friends,” according to Amanda Lenhart in the article “Social Media and Friendships.”
As mentioned previously, society is concerned that technology is causing a lack of social skills, however, in the article “Social Media and Friendships” written by Amanda Lenhart, she states that: “a majority of teens say social media better connects them to their friends’ feelings and lives.” Teens frequently post about the things going on in their lives and how they are feeling on social media, allowing their followers or friends to feel more connected to them now that they know such information. A high school student in the same article written by Lenhart stated that: “One good thing to come out it is you can find out what your friends do and check on them if you’re not there. So like find out who they hooked up with and what they did…” Many teens feed off of information like this, which usually causes drama all around and can make people feel too connected. However, it is not unusual for high schoolers to constantly be interested in what’s going on around them. Children are likely able to access social media wherever they are if they own a smartphone. In these instances, people tend to feel much more connected to their surroundings. Teens enjoy the fact that they are able to talk to whoever, whenever they want without having to meet up in person. Although many teens appreciate all of the aspects social media consists of, some do tend to feel that people are sharing too much about themselves online. Social media exposes us to so much information that we would not have known if it didn’t exist. The article “Social Media and Friendships” writes: “Some 85% of teen social media users agree that people get to show different sides of themselves on social media that they cannot show offline.” Teens enjoy this component that social media allows because they may feel more comfortable texting about a certain situation rather than confronting someone in person about it.
In conclusion, there are clearly beneficial factors that dating sites and social media consist of. Technology can be useful in the situation of finding a significant other or learning information about your surroundings. However, this does not take away from the fact that we cannot rely on technology to support our social development. We cannot depend on these sites to be the focus point of our lives. It is important to meet people face to face and have distinguished relationships with others so that our social skills are not based on what we write to others through a screen.
“Counter Argument and Conclusion Paragraphs.” SOCIAL MEDIA’S IMPACT ON AMERICA. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
Lenhart, Amanda. “Chapter 4: Social Media and Friendships.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. 06 Aug. 2015. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.
Nicholson, Jeremy. “Pros and Cons of Online Dating.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, 30 Apr. 2014. Web. 19 Apr. 2017.